Guidebook Information

Exceptional Fund Investing Know-How

from Morningstar

guidebook_image
A San Diegan investor’s guidebook for learning how to use Morningstar Library Services’ online database

Written by
Richard Loth, Investment Analyst/Educator, Fund Investor’s Schoolhouse

Copyright © 2016 Richard Loth

PREFACE

In the U.S., more people invest in mutual funds than any other investment product. As practiced by the vast majority of non-professional individual investors, investing, for them, means investing in mutual funds. With the demise of the defined benefit pension, retirement investing has become a more individual, self-directed responsibility.

However, while mutual funds are a popular and convenient investing vehicle, many fund investors lack financial expertise and experience, are time-challenged, and suffer from information overload. As a result, it’s been well documented, unfortunately, that a large majority of the general public is struggling when it comes to investing for their future financial security.

In investing circles, it is often said that what you don’t know can hurt you, or, at best, can be very problematical. This condition has particular relevance to mutual fund investors in San Diego County.

Why single out San Diegan investors? Here’s the backstory.

Since June 2014, I’ve been lecturing to hundreds of attendees at investment education seminars sponsored by public libraries, community centers, and at adult education venues. What I have discovered is that only a handful of people attending these presentations know of the existence of Morningstar Library Services’ [MLS] special online database. This service, which is available nationwide, is available to public libraries on a subscription basis. Fortunately, with three Morningstar subscriber-libraries in our area – San Diego County, Carlsbad, and Coronado – this means that library membership with any of the aforementioned provides San Diegans with free access, from the comfort/convenience of their homes to a treasure-trove of Morningstar mutual fund investing know-how.

If you are a fund investor and are not familiar with Morningstar, that circumstance needs to change. The company is a Chicago-based independent investment research firm that is highly regarded and widely recognized by the investment community for the breadth and depth of it’s quantitative and qualitative analytics on mutual funds. Its comprehensive fund investing content is unmatched in the financial industry. For individual fund investors, Morningstar provides the-best-there-is in mutual fund investing guidance. Nobody does it better, period.

In this regard, my purpose in writing this guidebook is, simply stated, to show readers how to access, interpret, and use Morningstar’s “exceptional” know-how to improve their mutual fund investing endeavors. Let’s get started.

Richard Loth, Investment Analyst/Educator
Fund Investor’s Schoolhouse

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS Pages
PREFACE 1
CHAPTER One INTRODUCTION: AN EXPLANATION OF WHO’S WHO

  • Morningstar Library Services
  • San Diegan Morningstar Subscriber-Libraries
  • Fund Investor’s Schoolhouse™
3
CHAPTER Two MORNINGSTAR’S KEY MUTUAL FUND INVESTING TOOLS 5
CHAPTER Three TOOL #1: MORNINGSTAR’S “ONE-PAGE WONDER”

  • Navigating from Morningstar’s Homepage to a Fund’s Homepage
  • The Six Key Investment Qualities of a Mutual Fund
7
CHAPTER Four TOOL #2: MORNINGSTAR’S FUNDINVESTOR’S 500

  • How to Navigate from Morningstar’s Homepage to the FundInvestors 500
  • How to Use the FundInvestor’s 500 Spreadsheet Data
21
CHAPTER Five TOOL #3: HOW TO USE MORNINGSTAR’S STYLE BOXES

  • Understanding Investment Risk-Return Relationships
  • How to Use Stock & Bond Style Boxes
26
CHAPTER Six TOOL #4: MUTUAL FUND ARTICLES & VIDEOS

  • “Continuing Education” from Morningstar
31
CHAPTER Seven “EXPLANATIONARY”– KEY MUTUAL FUND TERMINOLOGY 32
CHAPTER Eight CONCLUDING REMARKS 35
APPENDICES A, B, & C 36-41

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The Fund Investor's Schoolhouse™ is a learning center for mutual fund investing know-how.
Investment illiteracy is pervasive and will be, or is, seriously detrimental to millions of Americans' financial health.